Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

From “Beau” Brummel to Edward VIII, the confident and elgant dresser has revelled in subverting dresscodes. We look at how the suit jacket is enjoying a new lease of life with Alexander Kraft’s contemporary styling.

Luke Middleton

Occasionally the pull of family or career responsibility overrules an established love affair. King Edward VIII shocked the world by doing the complete opposite. He gave the throne up to his younger brother King George VI so he could marry divorcée Wallis Simpson. It made the establishment shudder, but he’d been coaxing their disquiet many years before, notably with his disregard for the fashion rules of the day. His dressing represented a modern paradigm, not only with his “dress soft” approach – an art that made him a symbol of sprezzatura, but with the less well-known Italian philosophy of men’s style that exists, spezzato.

That’s the splitting up of a suit in order to wear the jacket with the trousers of another suit (or vice versa). Avant-garde for royal circles, the Duke of Windsor’s creative mélange included the use of bold-checks and textured cloth. It often works best when the pattern and texture is confined to the jacket. Saluting the photographer in the grounds of Ednam Lodge, Sunningdale, the home of the Earl of Dudley, he perfectly demonstrates this alliance by wearing an unstructured tweed jacket in an oversized windowpane check with cornflower blue cuffed trousers.

For the purpose of comfort, elegance, and that true essence of sprezzatura, his jackets were softer, less structured, and if tweed, heavy scratchy versions were avoided. On this platform you can find lightweight tweed jackets of similar ilk, and reminiscent of the Neapolitan school, that can be mixed and matched with trousers from the AK MC collection. As Mr. Kraft demonstrates himself with aplomb, there’s no reason why you can’t pair an AK MC tweed jacket with his famed white Riviera trousers on a mild summer’s day in Deauville.

The Duke of Windsor’s use of separates was the antithesis of ceremonial formality, but before him the celebrated originator of dandyism, Beau Brummel, set the premise for breaking up tailored dress for more formal environments. A well-fitting coat, usually navy, was key to dandyism, and the use of full-length trousers and waistcoats in more sombre colour palettes was elementary to Brummel’s revolutionary taste. Using his dexterous design nous: half-canvas construction, partial lining, delicately-shaped chest on his Signature jackets, and all using sui generis Italian cloth, Mr. Kraft allows one to sculpt the aforementioned dandy aesthetic, but also be au courant by utilizing this look to fall into the category of high-end casual elegance. For an informal drink poolside at the Colony Club, Miami in mid-summer, the label’s navy Signature coat in either linen or cotton can be dressed up with a pale-hued cotton waistcoat, but masterfully relaxed by sporting an open collar shirt, subtly washed ‘Avvocato’ jeans, and elegant Belgian loafers with no socks. The result is a creative outfit, that bespeaks the very best of informal elegance.

Carving out a niche and being successful in the realms of sartorial menswear is no easy feat. At Alexander Kraft Monte Carlo it goes beyond being a niche, because of the imaginative and myriad ways with which one can break up formal tailoring, and wear it with panache. As the country discovered with the Duke of Windsor, breaking up romantically can be hard to do, and the same can be said for splitting up a suit, and wearing your chosen separates with real panache. It is why the sartorial enactment of doing just this at Alexander Kraft Monte Carlo has become so revered in menswear circles. He’s opened up stylistic opportunity that has been lying dormant for so long, which is why this revolution has proved so popular in modern times.

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